10-6 The Sar ha-olam: "The prince of this world"
There was a Rabbinic tradition that the whole world was under the
power of the Angel of death which controlled Egypt at the first
Passover, but had no dominion over Israel. They referred to this
Angel as the Sar ha-olam, and at the time of Jesus the phrase
"Prince of this world" would have been understood as referring to
this Angel (1). This is how Christ's
use of the phrase would have been understood. He described the "prince
of this world"- the Angel of death and darkness- as coming to him
and finding nothing in Him (Jn. 14:30). This would be alluding to
the Angel of death at the first Passover (and Jesus was speaking
at Passover time) coming to each house and finding nothing worthy
of death there because of the blood of the lamb on the lintel. Jesus
may have been using the 'language of the day' as He did regarding
Beelzebub and demons, but the consistent fitting of the type implies
Jesus believed the Rabbinic idea was at least partially correct,
in that the whole world apart from Israel was under the control
of a specific Angel. However, spiritually Israel were not under
the protection of the blood of the lamb because they rejected Christ.
The "prince of this world" Angel would therefore destroy them too.
It can be shown (2) that
"the prince of this world" refers to the Jewish system, perhaps
to the Angel(s) that headed it. Christ's allusion to the Sar ha-olam
would then have a telling double twist. The Angel whom the Jews
thought would not touch them because of the other Angels hovering
over them (the real idea of the word 'passover') to protect them
from the destroying Angel, was going to destroy them; the protecting
Angel which hovered over them and led them through the wilderness
was "turned to be their enemy"- i. e. to be the destroying Angel
(Is. 63:10), the Sar ha-olam.
(1) For more documentation
on this see James White, 'The Devil and his Angels', The Christadelphian,
July and August 1950.
(2) See my In Search
of Satan, Appendix 1 .